Double Glazing Grants – Government Strategy On Energy Efficiency
On 7 April 2022, the UK Government published its British Energy Security Strategy. The strategy proposes to accelerate the UK towards a low-carbon, energy independent future.
The reason behind this publication:
“The strategy was published in response to concern over the security, affordability, and sustainability of the UK’s energy supply. This concern is caused by both global and local issues, including spikes in global wholesale gas prices, the impact of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the recent failure of several UK energy suppliers, and the rise in the energy price cap as set by the electricity and gas regulator Ofgem. “
Whilst this strategy is predominately focused around power generation it does contain a proposal for over 40% reduction in gas consumption by 2030 and the housing market has a massive role to play in this area.
So, what are the Government doing to improve energy efficiency? We need look no further than the Heat and Buildings Strategy which was published back in October 2021 which outlines the strategy and the £3.9 billion in support packages to help achieve it. Certainly, some of these initiatives have saved households significant sums on fuel bills with the lowest income families benefiting the most (and rightly son).
- Around £1.8 billion targeted at low-income households through the Home Upgrade Grant and the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund.
- £1.4 billion to upgrade public sector buildings
- The fourth phase of the Energy Company Obligation ECO4 is set to increase to £1 billion per year from 2022-2026 with a target of helping 133,000 low-income households each year to improve energy efficiency in the home
The Government estimate that combined, this grant funding will improve up to 500,000 homes, saving households hundreds of pounds per year on their energy bills and reduce our reliance on gas (hence supporting the policy of the British Energy Security Strategy).
In fact when they talk about reducing reliance on gas so confident are they that it is intended that the sale of new and replacement gas boilers will be phased out completely by 2035!
Measurement Criteria – It’s all about EPCs!
An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) is required whenever a residential property is built, sold or rented. It provides information about a property’s energy use and typical energy costs along with recommendations about how to reduce energy use and save money.
It gives a property an energy efficiency rating from A (most efficient) to G (least efficient) and is valid for 10 years.
If you live in Scotland the EPC must be displayed in the property.
The Government uses this officially recognised energy efficiency rating to measure improvements. The target is for all residential properties to achieve a minimum EPC rating of C by 2035. There is also a target for mortgage lenders to have an average band C across their lending book by 2030.
There’s still a long way to go but we’re moving in the right direction. Official numbers suggest that we’ve improved from 13% of properties reaching an EPC of C (or better) in 2010 to where it is now at over 46%.
New builds are not the problem (84% are built to the top EPC bands of A or B). The real challenge is in upgrading the existing housing stock – much of which is old and dated.
Double Glazing Grants and Energy Efficiany Home Improvements
So, what’s this all got to do with double glazing grants 2023?
The simple answer is that the focus is on energy efficiency improvements as a whole rather than just single measures and the majority of the grant support is aimed at the lowest income and vulnerable households.
When it comes to home improvements the Government have adopted a whole house, fabric first approach whereby grants are going to support the installation of the whole package of measures that the building requires to bring it up to target. Yes, this CAN include double glazing grants depending on what you’re upgrading from but you need to be looking at a whole package of measures that will make your home as energy efficient as possible.
Understandably grants are being targeted towards the areas of greatest impact … the “low hanging fruits” if you want to call it that. Old, dated and inefficient Local Authority / Housing Association housing stock in deprived areas that can be upgraded in large volumes and positively impact on the lives of those who need it most. This is a similar focus to last year and will continue through 2023.
That means that the higher earning “able to pay” household aren’t able to benefit from grant funding to any great extent (depending on property, location and situation though). That said the Government recognise that this market does need to be addressed if they are to achieve targets.
For this reason, in 2023 we’re likely to see grant support for this able to pay market starting to emerge. The first initiative is on its way in the form of a grant funding initiative called ECO Plus.
ECO Plus and Double Glazing Grants
Initially ECO Plus will be a three-year scheme which will provide up to £15,000 of grant funding towards certain energy efficiency home improvements for middle-income households and will kick-off in April 2023.
But hold on … before you start getting excited about the prospect of widely accessible double glazing grants in 2023, we’re sorry to tell you that initially this money will only go to fund a limited number of low cost measure namely:
- Loft insulation
- Cavity wall insulation
- Smart heating controls
There is talk of this being extended to support a wider range of measures – we’ll keep you updated.
The exact format of the scheme is yet to be finalised but it is intended that it will be administered by the energy companies in the same way that ECO4 is but that the funding itself will come from elsewhere.
Double Glazing Grants 2023
To summarise what we feel the availablility of double glazing grants will be. You’re going to need to adopt a whole house energy efficiency improvement focus if you’re going to get any form of double glazing grant in 2023. Look at all the ways you can improve the efficiency of your property, put together the package of measures that will impact the most and seek out the grant support for the suite of measures as a whole.
Whilst you’re not going to get a grant specifically for double glazing as a stand alone measure there will be grants available for a whole house approach – substantial if you’re in the low earning / vulnerable bracket or live in “off gas” areas and up to £15,000 for all households following the launch of ECO Plus in April 2023 (assuming it keeps to time scales).
So, start thinking differently. If your old indows are inefficient and drafty then decide to thermally improve your whole property and you should be able to get financial support.